President Obama used his executive authority to increase the availability of visas for Chinese workers and students, a move that immigration hawks regard as a signal that his promised executive orders regarding immigration are coming soon…
A Senate Republican aide suggests that policy is a warning sign that Obama will soon reveal the orders that would constitute his executive amnesty.
“Now that the election is over, President Obama is beginning his effort to unilaterally and substantially expand immigration to the United States — whether it be legal, illegal, temporary or permanent — at a time when a record 41.3 million persons in the U.S. were born outside the U.S,” the aide tells National Review Online.
Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona is pushing his Republican colleagues to try to block the president from using executive action on immigration, but his plan is likely to hit strong resistance from House leaders.
The federal government is currently funded through a continuing resolution that runs out at midnight on December 11. Salmon, echoing similar calls from Republican senators Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Mike Lee of Utah, proposes that Congress pass a bill that would fund the government until early next year. If the president moves ahead with his executive amnesty, the expiring continuing resolution would give Republicans an opportunity to block funding for the president’s action after both houses of Congress are under Republicans’ control.
But that plan has a tough road ahead. Republican leadership in the House is eager to pass a spending bill through the 2015 fiscal year before the start of the new Congress. Members from both parties on both sides of the Capitol began formally meeting last Tuesday to negotiate the details of an omnibus spending bill. The omnibus bill is part of what the Washington Post refers to as a “host of critical measures” Democrats hope to pass before relinquishing their majority in the Senate.
Senate Republicans plan to turn the battle over attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch into a larger debate over immigration, using the confirmation hearings as a proxy war over presidential power rather than a debate over Lynch’s qualifications…
The Republicans’ early strategy, according to comments from senators and several Republican aides close to the Judiciary Committee, centers on whether the president has the authority to bypass Congress on immigration — allowing Republicans to write their own narrative on the nomination.
“The president is increasingly on a smaller and smaller island if he goes forward with this action and the next item of business is the nomination of the attorney general,” one Senate Republican aide said Monday. “Don’t underestimate the capacity for that to become a major battle front.”
Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are calling on Loretta Lynch to say whether she supports executive action providing relief to millions of illegal immigrants…
“The attorney general is the president’s chief law enforcement officer,” Cruz and Lee said in a statement on Saturday. “As such, the nominee must demonstrate a complete commitment to the law.”
“Loretta Lynch deserves the opportunity to demonstrate those qualities, beginning with a statement on whether or not she believes the president’s executive amnesty plans are constitutional and legal,” they continued.
For one, [Obama] could have barnstormed the country for amnesty during the election campaign, seeking to defeat officeholders and candidates who don’t share his view on immigration. This is how legislative majorities are built. Of course, he was too unpopular even to appear in most parts of the country, let alone convince anyone of anything.
With the election past, he can still build the political case for an amnesty and pressure House Republicans to act. If he could turn up the political heat enough, he might make House Speaker John Boehner buckle. This is highly unlikely, though, given that the country is not up in arms demanding an even laxer immigration system…
No matter how frustrated the president is, there is no Chagrined and Impatient Clause in the Constitution that allows him to effectively make his own laws when he is irked at Congress. If so, Congress would have been neutered at the beginning. American presidents have been irked at Congress for as long as there have been presidents and a Congress.
What President Obama is threatening is not only politically graceless — a rude gesture at the public, as Ron Fournier of the National Journal puts it — it is a profound distortion of the mechanisms of American government. But in a political environment defined by the reaction to his ideological overreach and misgovernment, blackmail is all he’s got.
Obama’s executive order, or whatever other form the action takes, will not have the force of law. Lawmakers can overturn it, in all or in part. Congress can also vote to deny funding for implementation of all or part of Obama’s action.
Of course, Senate Democrats — the same ones who bitterly denounced the filibuster in recent years — will use the filibuster to try to stop any such move. Perhaps they will succeed. On the other hand, Republicans will probably have 54 votes in the next Senate, so there is also the possibility that six moderate (or at least very nervous) Democrats might defect to push the GOP over the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a filibuster.
Even if Congress overturns Obama’s executive action, he will undoubtedly veto the overturn. In the end, the president can win, but Congress can assure that he pays a high political price.
But the voters will pay a higher price. They sent a clear message to Washington in the midterms: Work on the economy. Yet it appears the president is ready to ignore the message one more time.
President Barack Obama’s intention to sign an executive order to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants will hurt the nation’s chances of comprehensive reform, Sen. John McCain told Newsmax TV on Monday…
“It means that it’s going to dramatically harm the chances for comprehensive immigration reform and makes you question really how interested or committed he is to that, because if he would wait some months — a few months wouldn’t matter either way; after all, we’ve been at this effort for a long time,” McCain, an Arizona Republican, told “The Steve Malzberg Show.”…
“Did our Founding Fathers say the president of the United States should issue an executive order and then he’d be willing to cancel that executive order, if [there was] a peaceful legislation?” McCain asked.
“I’ve read a lot about the Founders of the Constitution and . . . I never saw that one at all. And so, the president seems to be in some state of denial.”
There is a lesson here that goes beyond immigration: Obama would have been better off doing what he thought was right and letting the politics take care of themselves. When Halperin, co-author of the bestseller “Game Change,” and Democratic strategists called for postponing executive action, they were looking at politics as a game, moving pieces to maximize numbers after the next election. But politics is not just always a game of winning the next election. It’s about doing, as Obama belatedly remembered Wednesday, “what I think is best for the country.”
Instead, his political calculation turned out to be too clever by half, and he wound up setting back a worthy cause without helping Democrats at the polls. “You repress the vote in the Latino community, and what did you come up with?” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) asked rhetorically during a news conference in Chicago on Wednesday, according to an account in Politico. He called the loss an “indication about what happens when you try to toy with your principles and your beliefs.”…
Hispanic turnout slipped to 8 percent of the electorate from 10 percent in 2012 and level with 2010, despite the exploding Latino population. Democrats got 62 percent of the Hispanic vote, better than a dreadful 2010 showing but well below the 71 percent Obama got in 2012. In the Texas governor’s race, Republican Greg Abbott got 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, and in the Georgia governor’s race, Republican Nathan Deal got 47 percent. In Kansas, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback won the Latino vote, 47 percent to 46 percent, exit polls show.
In the end, because of Democrats’ mistakes and Republican masterstrokes, the GOP managed to carve out much more support from Hispanics than many political observers expected. It’s true that, according to media reports, those Hispanics who voted favored Democrats by a margin of 28 percent. That sounds pretty impressive, until you consider that, just two years earlier, in 2012, the margin was 44 percent. Clearly the trend line is not favoring Democrats.
Already there are signs of a backlash on the left against Hispanics by angry Democrats who, rather than look in the mirror, blame them for the losses. They say that Hispanics are apathetic, that they don’t care about voting.
That’s not so. It’s just that 2014 was the start of something big with the Hispanic electorate. Think of it as a new independence movement. After years of being a “cheap date” for Democrats—at both the state and federal level—because they loathed and feared the Republican alternative, Hispanics are finally starting to wise up and ask themselves difficult and uncomfortable questions.
Like this one: Why bother to vote for people, in either party, who obviously don’t care about us?
Seventy-four percent of respondents in the election-day poll say the president “should work with Congress rather than around Congress on immigration … [and] 80 percent want new jobs created by the economy to go to American workers and legal immigrants already in the country,” said the memo.
It showed that “majorities of men (75%), women (74%), whites (79%), blacks (59%), and Hispanics (54%) all recommended that the President collaborate with Congress before changing immigration law.”
The demand that new jobs go to Americans and established immigrants “is a matter of fairness to them,” Conway told The Daily Caller.
“The question of fairness is usually about ‘what’s fair to the illegal immigrants,’” Conway said.
A Republican congressman says impeachment would be on the table if President Obama acts unilaterally on immigration by taking executive action to slow deportations.
“Well impeachment is indicting in the House and that’s a possibility,” said Texas Rep. Joe Barton on NewsMaxTV’s America’s Forum. “But you still have to convict in the Senate and that takes a two-thirds vote. But impeachment would be a consideration, yes sir.”
To turn back most instances of executive overreach, less drastic remedies would do the trick. The ballot box, for one: The Framers high-mindedly assumed that an imperious, corrupt, or incompetent candidate would not be elected, much less reelected. In addition, the power of the purse would enable Congress to cut off the funds a president would need to carry out reckless or lawless enterprises; and requiring Senate approval of presidential appointments would give lawmakers additional leverage to bend the president into compliance with the law and the public will.
But here’s the problem: Obama has no more elections to worry about; and, other than impeachment, the rest of the arsenal designed by the Framers is impotent when it comes to most of his immigration scheme…
At this point, would a credible threat of impeachment be much of a check on this president’s designs? I’m not sure. Obama’s stated goal is fundamental transformation of the nation, and a blanket amnesty would accomplish that. From his standpoint, it might be worth the risk. Plus, even if the amnesty suddenly ignited public sentiment for the president’s removal from office (a dubious supposition), nothing in Washington happens quickly. Obama would still have many months if not most of the rest of his term to abuse his awesome powers (including by issuing additional pardons) in transformational ways.
But I do know this: Absent a credible threat of impeachment, President Obama cannot and will not be stopped from granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, who will in short order be awarded citizenship and voting rights. You can call that a plea for impeachment if you’d like. I call it a statement of fact.
The rationale for Obama acting unilaterally to give millions of undocumented Americans the chance to become citizens, and thus keep their families from being ripped apart, is morally compelling. He won election and reelection on that platform. Legislation accomplishing that enjoys strong public support, including from voters in last week’s midterms. It passed the Senate easily and would pass the House as well if Boehner allowed a vote.
The political logic is compelling too. If Hispanics don’t turn out in large numbers, and vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, Democrats can’t win. Last week they did not. In key states, Latino turnout dropped, as did the percentage who voted Democratic. While it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact reasons, there’s circumstantial evidence that Obama’s decision to delay unilateral action on immigration reform played a role. Forty-five percent of Latino voters say immigration is their top priority. Some immigration-reform groups had responded to Obama’s delay by urging their supporters to boycott the midterms. And last week Illinois Representative Luis Gutierrez, one of immigration reform’s congressional champions, baldly accused the White House of having “repress[ed] the vote in the Latino community” by not acting.
But there’s a broader reason Obama must act on immigration. Since Democrats are the pro-government party, government dysfunction hurts Democrats disproportionately. If a Democratic president can’t show Americans that government can improve their lives, then fewer Americans will see the point in electing another one. To win the presidency, it is crucial that Hillary Clinton be able to say that eight years of a Democratic president brought an economic recovery, health care for millions of Americans and a path to citizenship for millions of the undocumented—and that eight more years will bring even more tangible gains.
One GOP political operative, who requested anonymity to speak frankly about the strategy, warned that the party is falling into a trap on immigration. He described a hypothetical disaster scenario for the party in which the president takes executive action on deferring deportations; then, Republicans try to defund the new program and potentially try to shut down the government. In this case, the 2016 Republican presidential primaries would become a litmus test on whether the candidate would end the policy — forcing candidates to take the position that millions of people should be stripped of protections put in place by President Barack Obama.
“That is a terrible place to be politically and that’s where we’re going to be,” the operative said. “This is like a slow-moving car wreck where we can see exactly where it’s heading. And if anybody thinks that’s not going to be a problem in Colorado, in Florida, in Arizona and Nevada and all of these places, they just live in fantasy land.”